Translated by Briony Dunbar
The Top 8 Sightseeing Spots in Enoshima, Kanagawa
Written by Naoko Matsumoto
Enoshima is a popular travel spot next to Kamakura and a little over an hour away from Tokyo via train. With its ocean scenery, Shinto shrines, and seafood, there is much to see and do. Learn eight must-visit places in Enoshima for a memorable trip.
Located one hour and a half away from Tokyo via train and 30 minutes from Kamakura, Enoshima is a small island in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a popular tourist spot with its beautiful scenery surrounded by the ocean, historical shrines and plenty of delicious restaurants. Here are the eight spots and things to do you if you’re visiting Enoshima.
1. Enoshima Shrine: Visit a Shinto Shrine for Artistic Ability
Enoshima Shrine, the cornerstone of Enoshima’s history, is one of Japan's three major shrines enshrining Nihon-Sandai-Benzaiten (*1). It is said to have been opened in the year 552.
Enoshima Shrine does not consist of one building, but of three shrines which are scattered across the island. Each of these three shrines enshrines one of the three of the Munakata-Sanjoshin (*2). Many people visit, because these are the goddesses of the sea, water, fortune and wealth. Moreover, they are said to give the blessing of increased art skills to the ones who pray to them. This is such an important place that one can probably say they’ve visited Enoshima simply by visiting Enoshima Shrine.
The red torii gate in the photo is the entrance to the three shrines. You must always pass through here if you want to get to the top of Enoshima.
Miyako Island in Aki, Hiroshima Prefecture, Chikubushima Island in Omi, Shiga Prefecture and Enoshima’s Benzaiten. Benzaiten is the goddess of music, eloquence, fortune, knowledge, and longevity.
*2: Munakata-Sanjoshin refers to three sister goddesses in the Japanese folklore.
2. Samuel Cocking Garden and Sea Candle: Enjoy Flowers and Light Up Displays
Picture courtesy of Fujisawa Tourism Association
Samuel Cocking Garden is a botanical garden on top of Enoshima.
The name of the garden comes from Samuel Cocking, an English trader in the Meiji Period who built this botanical garden. You can enjoy flower-related events throughout the year at this garden where you can view various plants.
Picture courtesy of Fujisawa Tourism Association
Beyond Samuel Cocking Garden is the lighthouse observatory Sea Candle which is also a symbol of the Shonan area. Various events are held throughout the year here too. There are especially many visitors to the illumination events held every winter.
3. Lovers’ Hill / Dragon Love Bell
If you go further up to the top of Enoshima, you will see “Lovers’ Hill," with a name is inspired by the love story between a tennyo (a celestial maiden who appears in Buddhist legends) and Gozuryu (a five-headed dragon), passed down from long ago on Enoshima.
It is a popular place where many couples visit to ring the “Dragon Love Bell” (ryuren no kane) which is said to bring eternal love to the couples who come to ring it together.
The “Dragon Love Bell” is surrounded by fencing and has many padlocks with dreams of eternal love written on them by couples. You can buy padlocks at the store near the entrance to Lover’s Hill.
4. Enoshima Grotto: Explore Natural Caves
The Enoshima Grotto, also known as Iwaya Cave, is further beyond Lovers’ Hill.
The Enoshima Grotto is a natural cave created by the erosion caused by waves over many years. It has long been a place of worship, too. It is separated into Grotto no. 1 and Grotto no 2, and you have to pay an entrance fee in order to visit it. Inside is dark and you can feel the clammy air. The drops of water dripping down the natural rock surfaces create a mystical atmosphere.
Head to Grotto no. 1 and you will reach a place lending candles. Borrow a candle and go further into the cave. It’s an interesting place which will make you feel like you are on an adventure.
Address: Kanagawa, Fujisawa, Enoshima 2 Google Map
Official Website: http://www.fujisawa-kanko.jp/spot/enoshimaiwaya.html (Japanese)
5. Good Fortune Stone: Improve Your Luck
It is said that you will gain good fortune when you pick up something near the Good Fortune Stone. Note that it is in a slightly hard-to-find place. You will see it when you pass the shopping street Benzaiten-Nakami-Dori at the entrance of Enoshima. Go up the stairs and through the large red gateway of Enoshima Shrine and Zuishin Gate, then go up the stairs and you will see it on the right.
In the 16th century or mid-Edo Period in Japan, there was an acupuncturist named Waichi Sugiyama who lost his eyesight during childhood. When he tripped near the Good Fortune Stone, he felt a needle poke him. It is said that the medical treatment method that was inspired by this event lead to his fame and success.
If you come near the Enoshima’s Good Fortune Stone, be sure to look for something on the ground. If there isn’t, leave a coin as a memory. Your coin might bring fortune to the next person who visits.
6. Benzaiten Nakamise Dori: Get Your Fill of Local Food
Benzaiten Nakamise Dori is the road visitors pass through before ascending the hilly path on Enoshima. It is lined with food vendors and souvenir shops, selling everything from T-shirts to freshly-made street food, to Japanese craft beer. Make sure to take your time before and after exploring the top of the island.
Be sure to look for stands selling giant rice crackers made with tako (octopus). As Enoshima is right by the sea, the fish and seafood here are especially delicious and high quality. There are also restaurants and eateries where you can relax with a shirasu don, or whitebait rice bowl, which is another popular regional specialty.
7. Enoshima Aquarium: Discover Japan's Vibrant Aquatic Life
Located within walking distance of Enoshima Station, the Enoshima Aquarium is a must-see for visitors, especially for those coming to the area with families and with children.
The aquarium has several areas divided into themes, including the Sagami Bay Zone, which focuses on the sealife of the waters south of the Shonan area, between Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures. Visitors can also see jellyfish, sea turtles, and dolphins.
8. Enoden: Go for a Picturesque Ride on a Local Train
Picture from Slam Dunk! Let's Go To Kamakurakōkōmae Station
Enoden, or the Enoshima Electric Railway, is a private railroad connecting Kamakura Station and Fujisawa Station. It runs around 10 kilometers in Kamakura and passes through Hasedera Temple and the giant Buddha statue, other major shrines, and charming residential areas by the ocean. If you are coming to Enoshima Island from Kamakura via train, taking the Enoden is the most inexpensive and fastest way to come.
However, transportation is not all that is special about this train. Its adorable green and yellow exterior attract many train fans and its charm makes for a special ride in general. In addition, Kamakurakokomae Station, which runs along Enoden, is featured in the popular series "Slam Dunk." If you are familiar with the manga or anime, we recommend getting off at this stop before or after exploring Enoshima.
How to Get to Enoshima
Enoshima is in Kanagawa Prefecture, located just over a hour from Tokyo. This makes it an ideal day-trip or weekend destination from the metropolis.
To access Enoshima from Tokyo, we recommend taking the JR Tokaido Main Line going towards Atami. Ride the train from JR Tokyo Station to Fujisawa Station. At Fujisawa Station, change to the Enoshima Electric Railway train bound for Kamakura, and get off at Enoshima Station. The route takes 1 hour and 31 minutes one-way and costs around 1,130 yen.
It is also very convenient to come from Shinjuku. Take the Odakyu Rapid Express train from Odakyu Shinjuku Station, bound for Fujisawa or Odawara. At Fujisawa, transfer to a local train and get off at Katase Enoshima Station. The trip takes around a little over an hour and costs 630 yen.
If you want to combine Enoshima with a trip in Kamakura, it takes 23 minutes from Enoshima Electric Railway Kamakura Station and costs 260 yen. Be sure to go to the correct Kamakura Station, however, as one is for JR trains, which do not go to Enoshima.
Take in the Best of Enoshima
Enoshima is an enchanting spot in the coastal Shonan region of Japan, close to Kamakura and Yokohama, and within easy access of Tokyo. The combination of outdoor beauty, shrines, delicious seafood, and exciting things to do make it an ideal trip. Come for a day or the weekend to explore this relaxed, nature-filled paradise.